Akiko Shinzato’s art of identity theft

Using bits of brass, laser engraved leather, reflective plastic and design acumen; Akiko Shinzato’s jewellery can give you someone else’s identity.

Akiko Shinzato has designed two collections of jewellery to undermine the idea that the face is the most important part of a first impression. Using an unusual approach, her collection explores how simply and easily you can modify and manipulate your appearances with a piece of leather or some crystals.

The first collection Wearing Makeup, is a large ornate crystal piece that the wearer puts on to adopt the masked features of a painted clown.

Putting on someone’s identity, the second collection, is a series of leather and brass pieces, reminiscent of the aesthetic and structure of a pair of Victorian pince-nez’s, which interfere with and alter the face as you attach them.

Shinzato’s jewellery collections are inspired by what she calls “appearance management”, which manifests in the way people curate how they appear to others with a veiling of their true identity. Appearance management can be both physical, such as make-up and dieting, or virtual, such as the carefully curated images of the self on social networking services.

Shinzato believes that  appearance management is connected to self-esteem: “Physical attractiveness affects a person’s mind; the more you feel that you are attractive, the more confidence you have,” she says.  

“The management of our appearance is performed to increase our self-esteem.”

French designer Alix Gallet also designed a set of detachable human body parts, not for cosmetic appearance management, but rather to fool biometric recognition technology that analyses the unique physical traits of humans – such as fingerprints, retina or facial structure – and stores them on the internet.

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